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4 Twitter Strategies I Really Don’t Get

4 Twitter Strategies I Just Don't GetI love Twitter. I admit it. I have discovered how to make it work best for me. Am I going to give you those tips? No. Because our goals are probably different and everyone needs to find their own strategy. And, frankly, some people will decide it’s a huge waste of time.

But one thing we all know:  what drives us crazy on Twitter. Spam. Egg profiles. Noise. I am amazed that some of these strategies continue to be used, even though a lot of people find them annoying. Sure, from an internet marketing standpoint, there might be proof that they work, but we can’t always measure the people we lose when we:

1. Push Out Those Auto DM’s

You don’t know me, so don’t pretend that you do by sending me the same lame message you send to everyone else who follows you. I actually know colleagues who unfollow anyone who sends an Auto DM. For me, they are impersonal, and they clutter up my DM stream.

Here’s what I don’t get:

1. In your very first message, you are asking me to follow you on Facebook, too. Why would I want to be your “friend” or “like” your page when I don’t even know you yet?

2. You offer me some freakin’ free report. A list of tips. Blah, blah, blah. Why don’t you just shove it down my throat?

3. You don’t even know what I do for a living. You ask me if I would like help with my blog, or maybe, to learn WordPress. Sorry buddy, you have lost me there, and I will unfollow you.

2. You Pull the Follow Then Unfollow Trick

Somewhere, someone told you that it’s a great way to build a following quickly. I don’t know if you check regularly to see who unfollows you, but I do. And many times,  it’s right after I’ve followed them back.

Here’s what I don’t get: 

1. Do you think you are being clever? Do you like playing games?

2.  Why the hell did you follow me in the first place? Now I understand that down the road what I Tweet might not appeal to you, so you unfollow me. No biggie. But right away? It’s a strategy that sucks.

3. You Follow Few but Have Tons of Followers

This goes hand in hand with #2.  I find many times that the people who follow me, then immediately unfollow, usually have a larger number of followers than who they follow.

Here’s what I don’t get:

1. Does this help your ego? Do you think people are impressed that you only follow 80, and have 60,000 followers?

2. You say you want to keep your stream clean and not follow tons of people—only the ones you care about. Well, aren’t you special?  I’m not suggesting following everyone, but damn, what are your thinking? You can use tools like Tweetdeck and HootSuite to organize them.

3. Isn’t this about being social? Not elite or picky?

4. You Are Prone to Burning, Divisive Political Rants

Is this part of the authentic/transparency thing? Just know that if you go on a hate-filled political rant, whichever side you are on—let’s cut Obama off at the knees or hey, look at those silly Republicans—you are turning away close to 50% of your followers who don’t necessarily agree with you. I have actually followed WordPress peeps in hopes of learning from them, only to be blindsided by political rants.

Here’s what I don’t get:

1. If you are tweeting in hopes of building business relationships, don’t you think this will put up some barriers?

2. Do you think I care? I have built relationships with many, many biz owners  over the years. And I know from small details,  that they are clearly on the other side of the fence politically. But they didn’t have to scream it out or shove their views down my throat. We got along just fine without knowing everything about each other.

So there you have it. Of course, there are other things that bug me: too many f-bombs, just tweeting quotes, and the ones that are super-positive all the time, that make me think that they have never had a bad day in their life. (Because, man, that’s just not human.)

What do you think about these four strategies? Are any of them justifiable? Do any of them turn you off? Do you have others?

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Bob Dunn
I'm BobWP, educator, podcaster and blogger. I have taught thousands of people how to set up their WordPress sites and grow them out. Having used WordPress since 2007, I bring those years of experience to our content in non-geeky sort of way.

27 comments on “4 Twitter Strategies I Really Don’t Get

  1. Definitely agree with you Bob – there are so many “approaches” to Twitter and some people just don’t get it. I try to think of it like any other form of communication and apply the golden rule. Would I want to read / be the “victim of” my own tweeting / social media style? If the answer is yes, I’ll post it and/or use a tool. Otherwise, it’s probably not something I want my name attached to. 
    We’ve given this so much thought, we built out a system called “Archetwypes” to take a snapshot view of someone’s social *style* so you can get at least a preview of what following someone will really mean. Here’s a breakdown of our thought process: http://dashter.com/inside-archetwypes/
    Thanks for the post! (and I definitely agree that political / current issue ranting is a big failure point)

    1. I love the idea of “how would you feel?” That is exactly what people don’t get. And will certainly check out your link and see what you are doing there.

  2. I hate hate hate DMs from twitter accounts I just started following, guess what I end up blocking those accounts because I didn’t really want DMs from them telling me about their site or what have you.  I also don’t follow a lot of people who follow me right away, unless I actually know them.  I also dislike a tweet asking a question ( say something like what pinot noir do you like to drink?) which then sends a DM or a reply back telling me to check out what they have to offer. It just seems disingenuous to ask the question in the first place only to try selling me what their site has for sale.  
    I completely concur with all your other points too.  

    1. [email protected], with you on all points. Autoresponders have their place, but they really suck on Twitter!

      1. [email protected] I am also very posessive of my ‘privacy’ with my personal twitter account.  It actually freaks me out a little when people follow it, because I rarely tweet and if I do it isn’t anything important.  My business twitter I don’t even touch that to see who follows me, I don’t follow many people with it though because it is a business account I just use it to draw people back to my fb page where I might have posted something important.  

        1. [email protected] your personal twitter account, I believe you are able to make that private, and I’m trying to remember, but I also think not everyone can follow you. You have to invite them or they have to request it.

  3. Hi Bob, 3.1 is the one that gets me every time. People think it’s a good sign to follow someone with heaps of follows and they only follow few back. If someone follows me, I follow them back that way they can message me in private if they prefer.
    There are people who think if you use Twitter the way I do then I’m an idiot. These same people say I must never tweet what I eat as people follow me as they are interested in my business. FFS (sorry) I blog about transport, nothing exciting about that why the heck would people follow me to hear about my white vans? Truth? They wouldn’t.
    I do use the auto DM to say thanks for the follow and to send an @message to say hello back. Not very many do, they just don’t want to start a conversation with me 🙁

    1. [email protected] Yeah, there are even times before I follow them back, I check those numbers. Obviously a red flag. 
      And I know what you mean about wanting to throw in a little other stuff. I do mostly talk WordPress, but like you, I occasionally share a good movie I am watching, a tasty wine, or some silly insight. Just enough to not fill it with noise.
      So you do a DM. I would have never guessed : ) But to be honest, those are less intruding than some. But on the other hand, it still bugs me a bit… what can I say? Understand you trying to initiate some conversation though. I must say I am impressed when someone Tweets me back, thanking me, making it a bit personal and it’s not a auto DM. But that all takes time!

    2. [email protected]@message
       “I do use the auto DM to say thanks for the follow and to send an @message to say hello back.”
      Yep… I do that.
      And to actually talk to people I know, but privately.

      1. [email protected]@[email protected] know, you at least make it generic and welcoming : )
        Drove me nuts yesterday somebody followed me on Twitter because we had already gotten to know each other on Google+. So when I did, his DM came through and said, “Are you on Google+ also?” I was so tempted to say, “Yes, asshole, we have been talking sometime there. Remember?”

  4. Great article, Bob! So glad you shared it.
    One of my favorite tools that I use for twitter is Friendorfollow.com. It allows me to see who I’m following who isn’t following back and vice versa. I don’t automatically delete people who aren’t following back – but do pay attention to good content.
    Thanks for your thoughts!

    1. [email protected]’s the same tool I use. Great minds think alike!

  5. I enjoyed reading this post, Bob. I’m still working on my own Twitter strategy, so your points are very timely. I also appreciate the referral to friendorfollow.com   I just cleared out a bunch of type #3. Thank you!

    1. [email protected] this was good timing for you. And thanks to @readysetgrow for mentioning that tool!

  6. Great post, Bob. My pet peeve is people who follow me and then when I don’t follow them back right away, they unfollow me a week later then follow me again so I’ll get a 2nd notice. “Hey, Pay Attention To Me!” Desperate much? 🙂

    1. [email protected], no one gives you a chance to actually follow back. When I follow someone, I like to give them at least a couple of weeks and see what happens… that second notice is a sign of desperation : (

  7. Bob, every single one of these is a great thought (and one of them is a bit convicting of me – eep!) Thank you. I know people who swear by the auto-post-and-forget-it engines… and although I am new to the Twitterverse, and realize it’s a tad labor intensive, I think actually Tweeting is a good plan. (I can write them in advance, around a campaign or strategy – but have to be willing to change horses – and I wholly agree: Don’t talk to me if you don’t know who I am!!) Thanks for the wise words you always share.

    1. [email protected] bet, I admit I do some scheduled posts occasionally, but I only do them with something that might not get a “social” response. In other words, nothing worse then scheduling a tweet when you are away, and you get a bunch of conversation going that you cannot reply to.

  8. @bobWP Preach on brother Bob! Twitter is really just a microcosm of society. Plenty of stupidity with some brilliance sprinkled in between.

  9. Hi Bob
    Very rare I send out the DM’s with the “please follow me on Facebook” request.
    I’m guessing that most of those type of DM’s are automated and go out in their thousands.
    I’m with you on the …
    “You Follow Few but Have Tons of Followers”
    Is it a statement of “look how important I am” or something along those lines.
    Food for thought Bob.

    1. [email protected], I was just being nice and didn’t mention that : )

  10. Yep, came here just for some of these reasons. It’s ridiculous the games people will play even online. What’s the f’n point? Are those people ever going to be real with themselves, much less anyone else? That’s why there’s lots of sites to check whose not following back or is playing these games. I’m in it to be social, equitably in the greater sense. But will follow accounts that won’t follow back : Nat Geo etc… But not in it to be part of someone’s frail ego who needs a synthetic boost of digital conquering.

    1. Exactly, could have not said it better myself. I also follow some accounts that don’t follow me back because they provide such excellent content. Cheers and thanks for stopping by!

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